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Building an Asian Wok Kitchen

Wok Kitchen
Wok Kitchen pictures (1 of 9)

I am so thrilled to let you know that I finally completed my remodel project of converting my small walk-in-pantry into an Asian wok kitchen, thanks to my sponsors Atherton Appliance and BSC Culinary in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Being an Asian cooking enthusiast, especially wok cooking, I have never been happy with my American kitchen with regular cook tops and range hood. I have lost count of how many times I set off the smoke detector and alarm in my house when I fire up my wok for a quick stir-fry. If you are into Asian cooking or wok cooking, you would understand what I mean. The heat is not hot enough, the range hood doesn’t suck away the grease and smoke, and the smoke alarm would go off the hook whenever we are trying to create “wok hei” (breath of wok). So, it’s been my dream to have a wok kitchen—in addition to a regular kitchen. I cook so much for the blog and for my family that I indeed need two kitchens, and thanks to Atherton Appliance and BSC Culinary, my dream finally comes true.

My walk-in-pantry is small, in fact, it’s just 67-inches wall-to-wall. However, space is not an issue if you know how to plan and design the small space into something functional for your needs. I wanted to have two (2) 15-inch gas cooktops, and one of them specifically for wok cooking with high-power burner / BTU. I do not need a huge counter space as long as I have some space on both sides of the burner. I called in a kitchen designer and we drew out the plan. It’s the best way to use up the limited space I have, while being completely functional and efficient. There are cabinets, drawers in the wok kitchen, and one of the cabinets is equipped with a roller shelf unit for my sauces so my limited kitchen counter space will be mostly clutter free.

I reached out to Atherton Appliance and BSC Culinary. When I lived in the bay area, I visited Atherton Appliance in Redwood City and fell in love with its ample offerings of high-end and specialty kitchen appliances. I proposed my plan to them and that my dream cook tops for my wok kitchen would be Wolf gas cooktops. They came back to me and proudly sponsored the Wolf 15-inch multi-function cooktop and the Wolf 15″ gas cooktop. Thanks so much to their generosity.

The remodel took a little long than anticipated but I now have an amazing and modern looking wok kitchen. Even though the space is small, it’s exactly what I wanted—a kitchen where I can whip up Chinese stir-fries with ample wok-hei (breath of wok), making curries, stews, soups, and all sorts of delicious Asian food. The wok kitchen is going to be my everyday kitchen where I cook while the regular kitchen can be used for lighter cooking. Now that’s the perfect set up for a cooking enthusiast like me. Let’s check out my wok kitchen.

Here is my walk-in pantry before the remodel.

After the remodel, the Asian wok kitchen.

Wok Kitchen

The gorgeous Wolf gas cooktops. I have two (2) 15-inch cooktops side-by-side, and I can cook up to 3 dishes at the same time.

This Wolf 15-inch Multi-Function Cooktop is made specifically for Asian cooking. The bottom of the wok sits perfectly on top of the flame, which is 22,000 BTU/hour. The direct heat will make sure that I get Asian stir-fries with plenty of “wok hei” (breath of wok).

This Wolf 15-inch Gas Cooktop has two hobs that allow me to make soup, stew, curry, or other dishes while I am stir-frying.

Even though the space is small, my Asian wok kitchen is practical, functional, and I can comfortably cook in the kitchen. I have a roll-out shelf for my Asian sauces and cooking oil, etc. It’s so convenient and saves space, plus my countertop will be mostly clutter free. Because the kitchen is small, it’s also easier for me to clean up and I can keep my regular kitchen spotless all the time.

I have also shot a short video walk-through of my kitchen below. Please check it out now.

If you are in the Bay Area and are planning to have a kitchen upgrade, remodel, or to equip your new home, do stop by Atherton Appliance and BSC Culinary to browse their wide selections of kitchen appliances. I am sure you will be able to find something you love there, and while you are at it, tell them that Rasa Malaysia sends you there!

About Atherton Appliance and BSC Culinary:

Atherton Appliance and BSC Culinary offers high end appliances, design consultation, drawings, cabinetry and countertops for those in need of a complete kitchen remodel.

Atherton pride itself on educating its customers and continue to match them with appliances that suit their cooking styles and add value back to their lives and homes. They feature several fully functioning kitchens that allow their customers to experience the fit and finish of their cabinetry and the trusted appliances that they offer.

The company was founded in 1956 with the idea that they could make a meaningful impact on their customers lives by helping them find the right appliances for their homes and, in turn, increase the enjoyment of their home life.

Brands: Miele, Bosch, AGA, BlueStar, Aficionado, Dacor, GE, Gaggenau, Viking, Wolf-SubZero, Thermador, Body Glove, Capital, and more!

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41 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. infcont

    What a beautiful set-up in such a small area! Wish they were on the East coast! One question, why is there a blank electrical plate over your wok burner?

  2. Jason

    Congratulations, Rasa, I hope your new digs bring you as much enjoyment as you want. Happy Cooking and lots of Wok Hai. We put a large exhaust and cooktop in our kitchen when we built several years ago but I wanted at least 30, preferably 50,000 BTU. Since that was more than zoning would allow, I ended up getting a portable stove with 50,000 BTU that I love, all except the inconvenience since I have to keep it in my garage.
    I have an 18,000 BTU burner on the Kitchen Aid stove in my kitchen. I will be very interested in seeing how the surface around your burner holds up with high heat and all the liquids and solids that fall on it. Mine has become increasingly difficult to clean and unsightly. I wish you the best. I follow your blog intently

    • Hi Jason, I know what you mean. Those portable stove with 50,000 BTU is the real deal. Today I tested out the new wok kitchen the first time and oh wow, I smelled wok hei in the dishes. Regarding the grease, I know what you mean, I have an Asian range hood (Made in Taiwan) that is made specifically for wok cooking and will see how it works out. Thanks for being a follower. :)

  3. Rick Lapin

    Yikes! That “clunk” you just heard was the sound of my jaw dropping all the way to the floor.

    Magnificent kitchen — if “wok hei” means “breath of a wok”, how do you say “wok envy”?

    Congratulations on your marvelous vision and execution!

  4. SuzyMcQ

    Congratulations, Bee! It looks amazing! I can’t imagine a more deserving cooking blogger and look forward to even more of your wonderful recipes.

  5. Mary Beth Elderton

    This is amazing. I am re-doing a tiny kitchen in a tiny 1950’s home–there is literally no extra space. But I am incorporating a couple of these ideas. Just to start with—a gas stove. I’ve had to use electric for many years. I love your back splash. And the roll out shelves are wonderful for a small kitchen.

  6. Big K

    What an awesome kitchen,
    all them shiny tiles.
    Time to stir-fry chicken,

    (Congrats on the lovely remodel, Bee)

  7. Jazj


    Nice view of your kitchen by the way.

    May i know which brand do you use for cooker hob? Ive been looking similar on that hob. Do include the serial product code.


  8. Paul

    It has been months since you first posted your blog. How does the range hood stacking up? Strong enough? easy cleaning? Is grease building up around your overhang cabinet above the stove at all?

  9. greg

    All of the Asian hoods are at the top performance wise, they all use pretty much the same fundamental parts. They all utilize two high velocity turbine blower wheels that have very deep tines or blades, which move air at a very high static pressure to help overcome flow restriction as it moves through the ductwork to the outdoors. Other non Asian hoods use a squirrel cage type blower which not only vibrate and have a lot of motor noise at higher speeds, but also suffer a minimum 20-25% flow loss on a very short duct run. Add a micromesh filter and that will drop your net airflow another 15%. An Asian hood with an average length , duct properly sized will typically loose around 11-17%. In some reviews people complain about the lack of a proper filter, but these hoods are made in such a way that they easily come apart so that they can be cleaned – every moving part and entire turbine housing , they also have the oil collecting cups. We have a Sakura, works very , very well !!! We are not even Asian, I just wanted a kitchen hood that performs. That is what you can expect from any Asian hood

  10. greg

    Would also like to add, a few people inquired about the cfm rating about your Pacair hood. 900 cfm? This is one thing I would like to point out, one criticism towards most of the Asian hood manufacturers is that in the past few years they have all been over rating and changing their cfm values. Seeing as they all use identical 8 inch turbine wheels and motors with similar rpm ,It doesn’t make sense for a 200 or 300 cfm difference from one make to another . Most of the ones I have installed have been capable of 505-520 cfm after being ducted which tells me the gross maximum air flow from the factory to expected would be around 580-600cfm. I do own a digital airflow meter which has confirmed this. Having said all this, these Asian hoods cheap, or umm not cheap like the Pacair in these lovely photos will still out perform any eurostyle or north americn hood by leaps and bounds given the ductwork is sized properly and all work meets local codes.

  11. tig

    What a joyful boon it is to find this article along with everyone’s kind and respectful comments in response… thank you SO MUCH, Bee and followers!!! Special thanks to greg’s spec-laden responses. Bee, the notes on your Wolf cooktop and your exhaust fan are exactly what I’ve yearned for. Until now, I was not able to find this kind of info, despite spending hours online and days in various appliance/kitchen stores asking about high BTU burners for wok cooking and about appropriate exhaust fans… Gratitude galore.
    p.s. LOVE your ‘Easy Chinese Recipes’ cookbook!

  12. Grace

    Hi Rasa, I’m really glad that I discovered your website! How informative! Are you in bay area or in Irvine? Can you recommend your contractor who built this beautiful wok kitchen? Also, is it easy to obtain permit for converting walk-in pantry into a wok kitchen? Thanks a lot!

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